Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Pool at Noon

It's a record for me: three swims this week at noon. Jana told me yesterday that I was going to start actually liking swimming in the middle of the day, what with the sunshine and warm weather coming. Ha! How can that possibly compare to swimming in the cold dark rain? Okay so it's growing on me. Still I feel almost disloyal, even though I have no choice unless I want to leave my seven year old home alone in the dark, for swimming with a different gang. And then there is the waiting. As soon as the kids are at school I'm asking myself: What time is it? Is it almost time to get my suit? How much can I do before 11:30? What will I eat right before I swim that isn't lunch but gets me through the workout? I'm hungry at noon, dammit. The noon swim is this big old commitment in the middle of the day that must be prepared for. And my coffee from Borrone does not taste the same at 1:30PM as it does at 7AM. Actually nothing tastes right after I swim at noon. I think this is the part that bothers me most. And yet, I love the fact that I can and do swim at noon when necessary. In case no one has said it lately, THANK YOU TIM for having so many workout options and so many great coaches to cover them. I feel so lucky to live near Burgess!

*I even got there early today (couldn't stand the waiting) and did 800 to warm up.
*Actual planned warmup: 600 free, 3 x 100's free
*Somehow I got confused regarding how many 400's we did, but we did a bunch.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Struggle

People keep asking me about leaving Juice. "You can't leave," they say, "it's YOUR company!" I calmly tell them that because of the way these investment things go, it hadn't really been mine for a long time, if ever, and that yes, I can and did leave. Then the conversation quickly moves to how exhausted I have been for years and how it's a good thing that I'm home now. "Yes, you've been sucked dry for a long time," are words I often hear. It surprises me every time even though it's just people affirming what I've just told them. I kind of thought I was hiding the fatigue and frustration pretty well, under that veil of very real excitement and adrenaline that comes from constant hard work and creation. I loved what I did at Juice. I also hated it at times; whenever the actions people I depended on turned my trust into disillusionment. I know that from the outside, folks saw the way I thrived on the work. Apparently they saw clearly how wiped and wary I was getting as well. It was a lot like swimming; exhilerating and breathtaking and energy sapping at the same time.

And now...the truth is that yes it is amazing to be home with the kids. I am thrilled about this - about being home to do homework and play basketball and board games. And during the day sometimes I get to do stuff like go watch my nieces in their swim classes, to photograph them and experience them - what could be more satisfying than knowing the people you love better? It is also amazing to be able to write again, as hard as it is to get back into.

But. The other truth is that it is a constant struggle for me, during those five hours of school that has become my work day. Every minute of every hour I am thinking about what I should be working on, and if I am not at my desk I am somewhat lost. I am sitting on the side of the pool, watching others swim, wanting to dive in as well. Do I really have time to take a walk or do a yoga class? Will I be able to calm my anxiety enough to enjoy the darling little girls I yearn to know better, or will my stomach flip while they float; will I fret the entire time about what I'm not churning out on the page instead? What will happen, or could have happened, while I sit back and watch instead of work? It feels odd to pick my kids up without having produced anything that feels like work. And it's a bit frustrating to be just as tense as I was at the office, at home. It's odd not to receive fifty emails an hour. It's strange not to have to tell groups of people what to work on while doing my own work at the same time; to not have to be in a constant state of emergency over launch or announcements or money. It's empty to have no one need my opinion at all. Then again, I was getting tired of giving it. I often found myself with no opinion - with no desire left to give it.

And so, I know it is right for me to be exactly where I am right now, and I know the struggle I'm in is what I have to get through. I still want to do relevant work and I desperately want to give my all to the friends and family I love as well.

I'm working on it. And the 500's help.

*warmup: 500 free
*6 x 500's done as:
4 x 125's done as easy, moderate, moderate, fast
2 x 250's done as moderate, fast
500 straight fast
500 straight with alternating 100's by drill and swim
500 straight with alternating 100's by fast and easy
500 straight fast
*warm down with 150 stroke

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Kids Are All Right

This morning I decided to take my kids and my camera to practice. The kids happily woke up at 5:15 and dressed warmly, ready to see some power swimming (and play on my iPad). Everyone in my lane said "Sarah, how could you do that to them? Aren't they freezing? What a mean mom!" Ha! Kids today are too soft. We spend all weekend and most of our evenings watching their games and practices. They should watch one of ours once in a while, don't you think? (Okay or at least use the iPad while sitting next to our practice at 5:45 am - after all, it's what I do at theirs.) And truly, my kids begged to come. The other week when Noah was out of town they asked to go each morning. Each morning I got up and half heartedly poked them. No response. So I left them alone, thinking it was a bit early to rouse them on a school day. And each morning when they woke up and saw the sun they were furious. "We want to watch you swim!" they said, "you have to try harder to get us up!"

Hookay. So today we got it done. See, don't they look happy/excited? 50% ain't bad, right? Seriously, my kids get major props from me for doing this so I could get a swim in. Despite their bickering and brotherly "love" wrestling matches, these dudes are A-OK. My 7YO even said to me last night as we were snuggling before sleep, "Mom, you don't have to try extra hard tomorrow or anything. I already know you're a good swimmer." It's a good thing he let me know, too. The work out was breaststroke this morning and even if I'd wanted to show off, that would have been impossible. Here are some more pics from the morning:

Awesome cover pullers working hard while I stand back and take a photo.

Jana giving us the warmup. Yes, it's really this dark and cold on the deck at 5:45.

Here's a cool pic of Lanshin's perfect elbow position.

Here's what it looks like after workout.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Secret Life of Swimmers

I heard about The Secret Life of Swimmers in our locker room the other day and immediately had one of those annoying "damn, why didn't I think of that?" moments. But I didn't think of it, and we're all lucky a woman named Judy Starkman did think of it because it's genius. She's taken photos of swimmers from her pool both at the pool, as she knows them, and in their "real life". I've included one of my favorites above but you have to take a look at her work. We all experience this kind of "Whoa, I think that's the guy from Lane 3" when we see fellow Masters swimmers out at Target or our kid's baseball game, or, as has happened to me and I suspect many of us here in the Valley, in a pitch to a local VC. At first glance, I am always shocked by the almost-indecency of seeing someone I may not know well but usually see naked or clad only in a swim suit, fully clothed and doing something other than gliding through the water horizontally in silence. With The Secret Life of Swimmers photos alone, Judy has captured that initial shock and recognition and inexplicable closeness I feel when I see teammates from my pre-dawn watery life in the bright daylight of normalcy. It is always a welcome jolt of camaraderie I can hardly explain, and I love the way looking at her photos makes me feel even though I have never swum with any of her subjects (as far as I know). With her features written about the swimmers she followed into their "dry" lives, she has captured a whole lot more as well.

All this makes me want to do one thing: capture all of you in a similar way. I don't think I particularly have the photographic talent to do it, and I'm not sure I'll actually make the time, but I want to. I have always wanted to read bios of everyone I swim with, and know what it is they bring to the pool and take away from the pool after the laps are done. The bitter experience of Heidi's death juxtaposed with the sweet outpouring of human effort from our team that I like to think helped buoy her and her entire family during the end of her life was awe inspiring and I learned a whole lot about some of the people who swim around me during that recent time. But we shouldn't need a tragedy to know each other, should we? I think we just need the inspiration to do so, and the willingness to make the time. I am inspired by Judy, as I was by Heidi. Now I just need to manufacture some good old fashioned time. It would take your help and prodding to do so, so speak up if you think I should do it.

And, speaking of secrets, I had a secret freak out today when the workout started ten minutes late and did not consist of the long free I so greatly desired. Tim is out of town and the workouts aren't matching the calendar, which is fine (I remind myself). Privately I was cursing. It's a little problem I have. And that is why I should never pre-read the workouts.

*warmup: 6 x 150s: 2 free, 2 free to back, 2 free to kick

add fins for:

*6 x 25's fast kick, 4 x 50's fast swim, 200 drill
repeat 3x: free, back, choice
This sounds super easy. It wasn't. Yes, that might be because I did 30 minutes of leg work before arriving at the pool. But still.

remove fins for:

*100 free, 75 back, 50 free, 25 back

Monday, April 2, 2012

The bunnies are coming.

As Easter and Passover approach, my kids want to both dress up hunt for eggs and eat cinnamon buns, and also eschew all bread products for eight days and perform a Seder. We're on track with one "pre-Easter" due to a grandparent's upcoming trip and absence during actual Easter, another egg hunt at another grandparent's house on real Easter, and a few ideas for Passover. My main problem is thinking about whether I can really give up cereal for an entire week. Carbs are good friends to me, and if I do ignore them for even a day this will be a real sacrifice indeed. Any Passover recipe ideas welcome.

*warmup: 400 free, 100 kick, 300 free to stroke

*4 x 25's, 100 IM, 100 free, 50 kick, 50 scull/eggbeater with hands in air
repeat 4x, for 25's do in IM order (4 fly, 4 back, etc.)

*6 x 75's: 3 free, 3 IM descending